CREATE supports new National Children’s Commissioner and looks forward to CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE being HEARD
CREATE Foundation welcomes the Australian Government’s recent announcement of introduction of a National Children’s Commissioner before the end of 2012. The appointment of a Commissioner is a key action listed in the National Framework for Protecting Australian Children 2009-2020.
This morning, CREATE Foundation CEO, Jacqui Reed, highlighted the importance of consultation with children and young people with an out-of-home care experience (i.e. foster, kinship or residential care) in determining the role and functions of the National Children’s Commissioner.
“Meaningful consultation with children and young people is not only a responsibility of the National Children’s Commissioner, but it is both timely and of paramount importance that the children and young people who the system is designed to care for have a say in the development of the legislation and policies that underpin the role,” stated Ms Reed.
Ms Reed also commented that the National Children’s Commissioner should have the power to initiate inquiries and become involved in resolving complaints relating to the care and treatment of individual children and young people.
“The National Children’s Commissioner must ensure that the rights and freedoms of children and young people are upheld throughout Australia,” added Ms Reed.
“This cannot be achieved without the Commissioner having the capacity to assist children and young people to resolve complaints and be equipped with the power to initiate inquiries into individual and systemic issues.”
CREATE also notes the importance of the National Children’s Commissioner being appropriately resourced to perform the office’s legislated role and functions.
CREATE will also work with the Australian Government to clarify how the proposed National Children’s Commissioner will complement similar existing roles in States and Territories.
CREATE Foundation is a national peak body representing the voices of all children and young people in out-of-home care. CREATE is also one of a handful of organisations globally and the only one of its kind in Australia expressly established to advocate on behalf of children and young people in care. For information on CREATE Foundation phone 1800 655105 or visit www.create.org.au
media enquiries Leigh White | 0431 932 122 | email@example.com
In Australia, over 37,000 children and young people live in care (i.e. foster, residential, kinship care) increasing by 9% every year. Through no fault of their own, children and young people may be placed in care due to neglect or abuse.
Young people in care experience social isolation, stigma and chronic low self-esteem. They feel unconnected, disempowered and unable to do anything about it.
* WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT CARE LEAVERS:
• 64% do not have a leaving care plan (leaving care plans are a strategy for life after being in state care)
• 35% are homeless in the first year of leaving care
• 46% of boys are involved in the juvenile justice system
• 35% completed Year 12 (compared to that of the general population)
• 29% are unemployed (compared to the national average which is 9.7%)
• 28% were already parents themselves
Data source: McDowall, J.J. (2009). CREATE Report Card 2009 – Transitioning from Care: Tracking Progress. Sydney: CREATE Foundation.